If you have a table booked for 9PM, are seated around 9.10, have no pre-dinner cocktails, and the starters arrive at 10.10 have you waited too long? Four out of five at my table at Tocqueville last night thought so. Our mains arrived at 10.40this was OK given the spacing between apps and main courses. However, the restaurant missed out on our orders of desserts. On being presented with dessert menus we had a simultaneous thought on closing them: I cant bear the wait. So my experience was similar to Aaron's (on this board 5/15/00). Is the quick pace at most places spoiling New Yorkers? Should we train ourselves to favor the relaxed--Mediterranean almosttempo of Tocqueville?
If there is a place to wait then it is at this restaurant. The room is beautiful, minimalist. The chairs are some of the most comfortable Ive come across. The food though has its ups and downs. The Billy Bi mussel soup that Grimes liked so much for its fat mussels had no mussels in it (two of us had this app and not one mussel to be found). The grilled sardines were wonderful, as were the rack of lamb (lamby to taste) and scallops with foie gras. The cod with lobster sauce was flat. There were decent wines to choose from including a nice New Zealand sauvignon blanc and South African reds.
Theres a lack of organization (in addition to the wait, a shortage of wine lists) that if overcome would transform this place from being good to very good. Ill go back. Tocqueville has potential that I hope it'll reach.